Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bon Iver in Photos

Seems like all the cool kids were at Tuesday's Bon Iver show at the Long Center. Well, this cool kid couldn't make it but luckily I had a photographer friend with a photo pass who captured some shots for you and me. All of these photos are the property of Emily Blincoe, she even posts cool instagram photos on her Twitter feed. Please don't repost these without giving her due credit.

Once again, all of these photos were shot by Emily Blincoe, if you decide to use or post them make sure you attach her name (at least).

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ACL Festival Preview: Conflicts

This is the part in my pre-fest coverage that is the most fun for me, it's where I look at the Austin City Limits Festival official schedule and I highlight the points in the festival when it will be hardest to choose one stage versus another. Last year was my first year attending ACL Festival and I learned a great lesson, which is don't needlessly move from stage to stage. So, for me personally, my decisions will be based on proximity as well as desire to see a specific set. Last year I did a lot of moving from one side of Zilker to the other and I can tell you, it's a task. Factor in that it's going to be hot as the surface of the sun this year and it makes the likelihood of me traversing the festival grounds even slimmer. I'm not here to tell you which artist to choose either, I'm just going to point out some decisions that you'll have to make throughout the weekend. Some may be no-brainers for you, some may be harder than algebra. Let's start chronologically shall we?

My first major conflict happens at 2:30pm on Friday when Fool's Gold takes to the Austin Ventures stage and Delta Spirit play the Bud Light stage. In this case, you CAN see Delta Spirit at Emo's tonight OR since it's early in the day you can catch half of each set. The Austin Ventures stage is located in a pretty central area so it shouldn't be too tough to move between these two stages at around 3:00pm on the opening day of the fest.

Fool's Gold - Nadine video via YouTube

The next major conflict, happens during the next time-slot. James Blake starts at 3:10 on the Honda stage, that's on the complete opposite side of the park from the Bud Light stage where Delta Spirit will still be performing. Blake's set goes until 4:10p Friday. Meanwhile, back toward the Bud Light stage, Smith Westerns take to the Google + stage at 3:30pm. I have seen both Smith Westerns and James Blake and they're both great performers but due to trekking reasons, and the fact that James Blake's music is very intimate, I'm probably going to choose Smith Westerns. There music is just more festival appropriate and it will require less moving on my part. Did I mention I'm bringing a chair this year?

Smith Westerns - Weekend video via YouTube

The rest of Friday I won't feel too conflicted. I know a lot of people are going to have a tough time choosing between Foster the People and Cold War Kids but I'm probably going to go with choice C) food. The final conflict for Friday is the headliners. It's a battle between Coldplay and Kanye West. Two very different performances in two very different genres. The worst kept secret of the festival this year is that Jay-Z, will join Kanye to perform some of the songs from Watch the Throne. Also, Jay-Z's wife is from Houston so it's possible that she will appear as well. I've seen both Coldplay and Kanye in the past and both performances will be very high energy with lots of spectacle. Kanye will have more cameos and auto-tune, he'll have a cooler stage setup and a LOT more bass. Coldplay will have more balloons, more positivity and a LOT more yoga poses. This is going to be a tough call for me and seeing parts of both sets will require some serious walking and chair carrying. My verdict is still out but I'm kind of leaning toward Kanye, I feel like his set will have more surprises than Coldplay's.

The Throne - Otis video via YouTube


The conflicts start shortly after noon on Saturday as I choose between The Antlers on the AMD stage and Aloe Blacc on the Bud Light stage. The Antlers newest album is one of the best of 2011 and when I caught them at Emo's earlier in the year they sounded at their best. They've added a touring member who really fleshes out the guitar sound and the rhythm section deserves a drumming Emmy. Aloe Blacc is an artist I have never seen before, who sounds fantastic on recordings. Can he deliver in the hot Texas sun? This conflict is early enough in the day that I could probably catch pieces of each set but the jury is still out on which one I'll start with, or if I'll actually end up splitting my time at all.

Aloe Blacc - Loving You Is Killing Me video via YouTube

The next conflict is between The Belle Brigade and Twin Shadow. I have seen Twin Shadow three times in the past but I love them soooo much, I would LOVE to see them play before a festival crowd. On the other hand The Belle Brigade shows a lot of promise and an up-and-coming act that we will be hearing a lot more from in the future. I featured them already as a group who you must see at the festival. Would it be hypocritical of me to not watch their entire set? You'll have to keep an eye on my Twitter feed to see, which band I choose on Saturday.

The Belle Brigade - Losers video via YouTube

The next Saturday conflict is at 4:00pm Saturday, between Iron & Wine or Alison Krauss & Union Station. Both acts feature amazing songwriting, with deep, personal, heartfelt vocal performances. Both artists are known for their breathtaking live performances and both are legendary in their respective genres. Also, I have never seen either act perform live, this might be the toughest conflict to date. I'm leaning towards Alison Krauss even though I'm less familiar with her songs, simply because I feel like I will have many more chances to see Iron & Wine perform.

Alison Krauss & Union Station - Paper Airplane video via YouTube

The conflicts between 5:30pm and 7:00pm are numerous. Specifically, between 6:30pm and 7:00 pm, I want to see Cut Copy, Wanda Jackson AND Gillian Welch. Of those three Wanda Jackson is the artist whom I have never seen before, I saw Gillian Welch quite recently and Cut Copy live on another continent. So, even though I ADORE Gillian Welch, she is, pretty much, out of the running. She is based in Nashville and will be back in Austin soon. Wanda Jackson is a legend so I MUST catch her set and when she is done, I'll have time to catch the climactic final 30 minutes of Cut Copy.

Wanda Jackson - Thunder On The Mountain video via YouTube

The headlining conflict for Saturday is going to be a difficult choice for lots of people. My Morning Jacket is largely considered to be the best American touring band of this generation and Stevie Wonder has written about two dozen of the greatest songs in American music. I have seen a lot of conversation about his on twitter and I know a lot of people will be splitting their time. For me, it's a pretty obvious choice. I am definitely a fan of My Morning Jacket but they will be back in Austin a lot in the next few years. Stevie Wonder will not

Stevie Wonder - Living For the City video via YouTube


On the final day of ACL two bands that I've featured both go on at 1:30pm. Do I see the quirky Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr? Or do I go for the The Head and The Heart. I love both of their albums and I think that both acts deserve my attention. However, I have seen Dale Jr Jr on Emo's inside stage and I have never seen The Head and The Heart. The fortunate thing is, no matter who I choose chances are both artists will be back through Austin again within the next year. I love you Austin!

The Head and The Heart - Lost In My Mind video via YouTube

Later in the day both Death From Above 1979 and Elbow go on at 5:30pm on opposite sides of the park. Their sounds are very different but they are similar in the sense that whichever stage I choose I'll be bummed I missed the performance at the other stage. Neither Elbow nor Death From Above play very often, although DFA did perform at SXSW this year. Personally, I'm a brit-pop addict so I'm going to choose Elbow although, the hipster side of me really thinks I should go with Death from Above.

Elbow - Open Arms video via YouTube

So, those are the areas in which I feel most conflicted this year. Who know maybe I'll just be passed-out in a folding chair from too much beer and sun and I won't feel conflicted about any of this. As I mentioned, I feel like a lot of these decisions will come down to how far will I have to move my chair, if at all. Congratulations and thank you to those of you who managed to read this far down in the post. I truly appreciate you, I love writing this post every year but it takes forever to put all the links in here. Feel free to tweet at me where you feel conflicted or post it in the comments if you wish.

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Delta Spirit at Emo's Tonight

Alright kiddos it's the eve of ACL Fest and it's your final night of, "see a show every night leading up to ACL Fest." For tonight, it's a 2 for 1 kind of deal, I'm sending you to our beloved Emo's to see Delta Spirit. See, it's a 2 for 1 because it's an OFFICAL ACL aftershow, even though it's actually a pre-show. You can still get tickets and they're less than $20. As I mentioned yesterday, Delta Spirit are playing the same time as Fool's Gold at the fest, so this will be a great opportunity for you to see both bands perform full sets.

Delta Spirit - White Table video via YouTube

Of course, given that tonight is the unofficial kick-off to ACL weekend, there are lots and lots of shows for you to check out. Some of these shows you can just pay at the door, some require purchasing tickets in advance and some are crazy exclusive. One of my favorite hip-hop producer/DJ's is in town tonight at Red 7, you might know him as the DJ for North Carolina's Little Brother, that's right I'm talking about 9th Wonder. Tickets are only $10 and anyone who is a fan of hip-hop will be highly entertained. Perhaps you're familiar with his work already and didn't realize it. Here's one of my favorite of 9th Wonder's productions.

Erykah Badu - Honey video via YouTube

Just a door or two away from the 9th Wonder show, over at Beauty Bar you can catch all sorts of great Austin bands at the Art Disaster party. All sorts of genres will be represented with both DJ's and bands spinning, performing and generally destroying any and all types of music. Click the link for the full rundown on who is playing when, and on which stage. You can also download a free mixtape from the site and RSVP for entry.

Now, is the part where I mention the more exclusive shows. No offense, but if you didn't already know about these ones your chances are getting in are quite marginal. There is a mini-British-invasion at Austin's W Hotel tonight, with performances by both Coldplay and Katy B. Coldplay are taping an episode of Austin City Limits in the Moody Theater, which promises to be their most intimate performance in years. However, word on the tweet is they are bringing their full-arena show into the much smaller space. I'm talking balloons, confetti, balloons filled with confetti and Chris Martin running his tiny-ass off. Katy B is bringing her U.K. dancefloor bangers to the Great Room in the W as part of their Symmetry Live series. It will be one of Katy's first shows in the U.S. and I, for one, am very excite to see her perform.

Katy B - Witches Brew video via YouTube

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ACL Festival Preview: Fool's Gold

I fell in love with Fool's Gold at SXSW 2010 . In fact, I loved their live show so much that in a week when the city is flooded with thousands of bands, I actually (intentionally) watched them twice. The band is based in L.A. but, definitely, has a world sound. They recently released their second full-length LP via IAMSOUND Records and you can stream the whole thing on the KCRW site. If I had to pin down their sound, I would say it's kind of like jam music with African rhythms but now that I read that, it sounds like the most terrible thing ever. Trust me, the music is NOT terrible and it will have you dancing.

Fool's Gold play ACL Festival at 2:30pm on Friday, you'll find them at the Austin Ventures stage, across from all of the food. They do play at the same time as Delta Spirit whom I ALSO love but it shouldn't be too tough to catch songs from both acts at that time of day.

Fool's Gold - Wild Window video via YouTube

I've been listening to the new LP from Fool's Gold while I write and you can tell they have been influenced by their life performances. The songs are so much catchier, dancier and generally more accessible than the first album. I liked the first record a lot but that enjoyment was largely based on having seen them perform live. This new record does a much better job of capturing the live energy of the band. I'm looking forward to their set on Friday even more now that I've heard this new material. See you at the Austin Ventures stage at 2:30pm!

In the meantime, here's a song from the first LP to tide you over:

Fool's Gold - Surprise Hotel video via YouTube

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Deadmau5 and Tommy Lee?

Ok, I'm not going to lie, I don't give a crap about Deadmau5 OR Tommy Lee but maybe you do? Also, I wanted to keep up this theme of see a show every night the week leading up to ACL Festival. So, for those reasons I wanted to make you aware that Deadmau5 is playing a show at Austin Music Hall tonight with Tommy "I Love You So Much Baby" Lee. I had heard that they did a show together in Las Vegas but I guess I didn't realize they were touring together, or maybe I emotionally blocked it. I'm not going to say anything negative about either artist I'm just giving you the heads-up and if YOU are interested in attending, there are still tickets available. I will also say, that I'm sure this show will be visually stunning. Tommy Lee has been known to set up a roller coaster track, loop that his drum kit is attached to and he plays a solo as the kit moves around the loop. It is, by far, the most necessary thing to happen to drumming since the invention of foot-pedals.

Deadmau5 - Meowingtons Hax Tour video via YouTube

Other names on the bill tonight include: Excision, DJ Aero and Crizzly. The doors open at 6pm, which seems pretty early but I expect Deadmau5 and Tommy Lee probably play individual sets as well as a joint set.

Excision - X-Rated video via YouTube

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

ACL Festival Preview: We Are Augustines

In addition to being a place where you can see some of your favorite artists, ACL Festival is also a place for you to discover artists whom you might not be familiar with yet. So far I've featured artists with, somewhat, higher profiles but today I want to highlight a band who you may not have heard of yet. They are based in NYC and they are called We Are Augustines, featuring former-members of the former-band Pela. The latest LP from We Are Augustines is called Rise Ye Sunken Ships and it is full of beautifully-written, deeply personal songs but it's not precious, delicate or twee. It's raw, emotional and powerful. If you're a Spotify user, I highly-encourage you to give it a listen and decide for yourself. If you DO want to check out We Are Augustines at ACL Festival they are playing Sunday afternoon, you can STILL get single-day tickets for the Sunday of the fest. Are you ready for the unfortunate part? The band takes to the BMI stage at 6:30pm, which happens to be the same time that Fleet Foxes and Manu Chao go on.

We Are Augustines - Chapel Song video via YouTube

I've seen Fleet Foxes and Manu Chao perform in the past and they are both great acts to see HOWEVER, Fleet Foxes quiet aesthetic is not ideal for a festival setting and Manu Chao jams out all of his songs to be about 10 minutes long and it get SERIOUSLY monotonous, so now you have an alternative. Head over to the BMI stage and catch We Are Augustines at 6:30pm the Sunday of ACL Festival.
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Hank III at Emo's Tonight

As I mentioned yesterday, in this week leading up to ACL Festival I'm encouraging you to see a show every night. It will help build your stamina and drinking tolerance for this weekends fest in Zilker Park. Tonight, I have TWO show suggestions for you, one of them is sold-out so if you don't already have tickets to see Bon Iver at the Long Center then you should probably just focus on Hank III. Firstly, may I saw I love that Hank III doesn't even use his surname, if you don't know it's Hank Williams III then you MIGHT live under a rock. He has carried on the family tradition of rebel country, straying far from the, somewhat, pop-country hits of his father and singing tunes that are more akin to the drunken, murder ballads of his grandfather. Hank III has released FOUR LPs this year, including a double album. I know that, at least, one of these is not really sanctioned by Hank. Hillbilly Joker was released after Hank III departed from his former label, which sat on the record for 8 years. The other three LPs are all out on Megaforce Records, a label known for its punk, metal and hardcore bands. This should give you an idea of what to expect from at tonight's show at Emo's. As of this moment, you can still get yourself some tickets but something tells me it might sell-out, so don't expect to be able to just pay at the door tonight.

Hank III - False Hearted Lovers Blues video via YouTube

Back to the Bon Iver show for a minute, hopefully even if I don't go to the show myself I'll have a photographer in the pit for the first three songs so come back tomorrow for some great beardo porn. Also, if you haven't heard Kathleen Edwards, you should check her out. She's opening for Bon Iver tonight and I expect she'll be back through Austin sometime in the near future. Her last album came out in 2008, which makes me think she has something new on the horizon and you can expect to hear lots of new tunes if you're catching tonight's show. Here's a song from to give you an idea.

Kathleen Edwards - The Cheapest Key video via YouTube
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Monday, September 12, 2011

ACL Festival Preview: Cults

Personally, I am kind of flabbergasted that Cults are playing before noon on the Friday of ACL Festival. I think they put out one of the best LP's of the year, they were fantastic at SXSW this year and they are even signed to a major-label. To me, all of these things should add up to getting, at least a 5pm time-slot. However, I am not in charge and for all I know the band had scheduling conflicts? There are many, many factors, which could have landed Cults such an early, un-desirable set time. I can tell you one thing, I took Friday off to make sure I don't miss their set. In case you couldn't tell, I am a HUGE supporter and I really think you'll like them too. I'm not going to lie, I was late to the party on Cults the cool kids have been fans since SXSW 2010, or earlier. Gorilla Vs. Bear released their first 7" in March of 2010. I feel like I judged a book by its cover, I think the name Cults really works against them, the band looks like the Addams Family and they have a dark name and you think their music is going to be dower, sad, depressing etc. Well, it's not. It's sunny, summery, fun, nostalgic, it's a little Phil Spector, a little Lesley Gore but contemporary all at once. They play the Honda stage at 11:45am on Friday and you should really be there with me. They are also playing an aftershow at the Parish but it's already sold-out. Sorry kids, you're gonna have to roll out of bed and hit the bus early to catch Cults' official ACL set..

Cults - Abducted video via YouTube

I worry about Cults, as I mentioned they are signed to a major-label and I feel like it's unwise for them to have spent so much money on that Abducted video. Sure, it looks great but they have to pay the label back for that and so far the album hasn't sold as well as it should. I know the label is really trying to push them to adult-alternative radio stations like KGSR but let's face it, radio is a bunch of bullshit these days and they aren't taking "risks" on bands like Cults. KGSR would rather play Paul Simon's Graceland 100,000 times than try to break a new artist to their audience, whom they obviously perceive to be completely stupid. Cults are a great, radio-ready band but they probably won't get on most radio stations. People like you, already know about them and let's face it, a lot of people who read blogs don't spend money on records. I guess what I'm getting at, is I hope Cults don't end up working at Starbucks to pay back Sony for fancy videos. They should really be conservative with their advance money. Also, if you haven't bought their LP, you really should. I got it for free and I love it so much I went out and bought it on vinyl.

Cults - Go Outside video via YouTube

For the record, Go Outside is the single that Sony is encouraging pussy-ass, non-risk-taking, AAA radio stations to play. This is the phone number to make requests at KGSR -> (512) 390-5477, maybe if enough of us request NEW music they will play less Tom Petty? Perhaps? For that matter, here is the request line for 101x -> 512.836.KROX. Cults SHOULD be on both of these radio stations. Everytime a radio station plays Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit another great, contemporary, artist is NOT played. Think about that. If radio stations were run in 1992, like they are now we might not know who Nirvana is. GET WITH THE TIMES RADIO!! YOU ARE DYING AND EVERYONE FUCKING HATES YOU!!! REMOVE HEADS FROM ASSES AND PLAY MUSIC FROM THIS MILLENIUM!!!

Somehow this post previewing Cults turned into a hateful diatribe against contemporary, corporate radio. Not really sure how that happened but I'm kind of glad it did. See you at ACL Fest!!

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Deleted Scenes Play the Mohawk

Well folks, ACL Festival week is officially upon us. There will be Austin City Limits Television tapings, ACL Festival pre-shows and after-shows, not to mention all of the events intended as alternatives or distractions from the festival. May I suggest you make it a full week of checking out live music by hitting the Mohawk's inside stage tonight? D.C.-area band, Deleted Scenes is in town and they want to play in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the 'Hawk this evening. Their latest LP, is called Young People's Church Of The Air and has been out since Tuesday, why the fuck haven't you bought it yet? Seriously it's been 6 whole days now, get on it already! No, really though, if you DO want to buy the album you should just hit the Mohawk tonight, you can buy it on CD or Vinyl and probably get it signed or a picture of you, with the band, holding the album. Maybe you could bring your dog and you could get a photo of the band with your dog and the album, it'll be great, Kodak moments for everyone! Tickets for tonight's show are not available for pre-purchase but the cover at the door will only be $6 so you should still be able to go out the rest of the week and buy yourself some Mighty Cone at Zilker this weekend. If you're under 21 the cover tonight will be $8 but chances are you're not reading this if you're under 21.

Deleted Scenes - Bedbedbedbedbed video via YouTube

As I mentioned, tonight's show at the Mohawk is on the inside stage, which generally means it'll be going until, somewhat, close to last call. You should arrive by 10pm if you want to catch all of the artist's sets but chances are the last set of the night will be played by 1am(ish). In addition to Deleted Scenes, Royal Forest (formerly Loxsly) will be on the bill tonight, along with Haunted Amps.

Royal Forest - Civilwarland video via YouTube

Oh, by the way, if you want to download some FREE music from Deleted Scenes you can check out their Bandcamp page linked above the break or our friends over at Side One Track One posted some Mp3's for you to sample in their post featuring Deleted Scenes. That should show you how cool this show is, when several Austin bloggers are encouraging you to check out Deleted Scenes you know it's gonna be worth your $6.

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